Norwegian - flight cancelled - will not pay for SAS replacement flight due to extraordinary circumst

Hello, 
Thank you for any advice. 
My wife and I were flying to Norway for her 40th, we had only a long weekend between our busy jobs (healthcare). 
Just a couple of days before we were due to fly out the our internal flights were cancelled - informed by text, (due to grounding of Max aircraft). 
A few days later we were then sent a similar text about our return leg.
In both cases we called NA who were very unhelpful. the only flights they could offer were on different days or very different times, meaing our international flight timings would not work. 
We are not in the kind of jobs that we can change leave last minute. I explained the replacement offerings were not suitable and they refused to help us look at other airlines. 
We ended up using SAS for the internal flights and got to have our holiday, I think about £1000 in flights extra than expected!
I complained to NA on the return and they refused to pay out. 
I then escalated to the ombudsman NRF. It took a year but I now have a response - see below. 

What I would like some advice on please.

Assuming I accept these were extraordinary circumstances.(although i feel they acted very slowly)

It is still the airlines responsibility to provide 'adequate' alternative flights - if flights are not adequate then if a passenger has to find their own flights, should the airline pay for these flights? 

How can I continue to fight this? (the email from NRF states -  Your case may now be brought before the district court without prior consideration by a conciliation board ,cf. Aviation Act section 10-47.)





CAA guidance seems wooly:

2. Choose an alternative flight

If you still want to travel, your airline must find you an alternative flight. It’s up to you whether to fly as soon as possible after the cancelled flight, or at a later date that suits you. Airlines often refer to this as being ‘rerouted’.

Although most airlines will book you onto another of their flights to the same destination, if an alternative airline is flying there significantly sooner then you may have the right to be booked onto that flight instead. You can discuss this with your airline."




Part of NRF response. 

"Norwegian has contended that the above-mentioned conditions must be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance which exempts the airlines from their responsibility to pay compensation according to EU Regulation 261/2004, and that the cancellation could not have been avoided in spite of all reasonable measures having been taken. The airline has consequently, on the above grounds, refused the claim from the complainant for standard compensation. Beyond this, the airline believes that the complainant was given adequate offers of rerouting in accordance with EU Regulation, and on those grounds, has rejected the claim for a refund of his tickets."

I can get a lot more of the specifics in terms of timings etc but just to give a quick overview first and to see where I may be able to go with this 

Comments

  • What do you mean Internal flights?

  • Where were you flying from?
  • What reason were you given for the flights being cancelled?
  • JPears
    JPears Posts: 5,086 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    And Norwegian appear to be talking about compensation, not re-routing costs. This is an entirely diferent matter.
    Can you give us all the flight details, ailines, times dates etc.
    it will make it alot easier to offer advice.
    Ignore CAA 2avice".
    You need to google and download regualation 261/2004 for the exact legal wording.
    If you're new. read The FAQ and Vauban's Guide

    The alleged Ringleader.........
  • sorry details:
    flights as per below. 
    Flight DY410 cancelled - 13/3/19 by text  cancelled due to operational reasons resulting from grounding of boeing 737 MAX. 
    Flight DY413 cancelled 15/3/19 by text cancelled due to operational reasons resulting from grounding of boeing 737 MAX.
    Yes I am confused what I am entitled to. 
    As NA were unable to offer flights that fitted in with our D82802 and D82807 or our hotel booking etc we had to book alternatives for the above with SAS. I have asked for these flights to be paid for by norwegian. They have refused. 
    Departure: Sunday 17 March, 2019
    FromToDepartureArrivalFlightAirline
    London Gatwick
    United Kingdom
    Terminal S
    Oslo Gardermoen
    Norway
    08:00
    11:05
    D82802
    Norwegian Air International Ltd
    Norwegian Air International Ltd
    Oslo Gardermoen
    Norway
    Aalesund
    Norway
    15:05
    16:05
    DY410
    Norwegian
    Norwegian
    Return: Wednesday 20 March, 2019
    FromToDepartureArrivalFlightAirline
    Aalesund
    Norway
    Oslo Gardermoen
    Norway
    16:35
    17:30
    DY413
    Norwegian
    Norwegian
    Oslo Gardermoen
    Norway
    London Gatwick
    United Kingdom
    Terminal S
    18:10
    19:30
    D82807
    Norwegian Air International Ltd
    Norwegian Air International Ltd
    Operated by Norwegian
  • NRF decision. 

    Decision The Air Passenger Complaints Handling Body evaluated the case on 11th February 2020. The relevant case documents were presented. Summary: Claim for standard compensation and refund of ticket on grounds of cancellation. Boeing 737 MAX. The complainant has given the following statement: The complainant had planned to fly on Norwegian’s flight DY410 from Oslo airport (OSL) to Ålesund (AES) on 17th March 2019 at 15.05, and return to Oslo on flight DY413 at 16.35 on 20th March 2019. The complainant had booked hotel accommodation in Norway, about two hours from Ålesund. Flight DY410 from Oslo to Ålesund was cancelled, with warning being given to the complainant by sms message sent late at night on 13th March 2019. The complainant did not therefore have much time to organize an alternative trip. He has explained that none of the flights were scheduled to be operated by 737 Max, because he had checked this himself, in advance. Later, the return trip for flight DY413 from Ålesund to Oslo was cancelled, on 15th March. The complainant called Norwegian where he was told that it was not possible to be rebooked before 20th March at 19.20. The complainant had also planned to return to London-Gatwick later that evening and he therefore missed this connecting flight. Because of Norwegian not being able to offer better help for a rerouting, the complainant had to buy new tickets with SAS, for both trips. This cost him a total of GBP 738,60, for which he is claiming a refund. The complainant has also claimed for standard compensation in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004 for EUR 250 per person, making a total of EUR 500 for two passengers, as well as a refund of the tickets with Norwegian costing altogether GBP 418,56. The airline has made the following statement: Norwegian’s flight DY410 from Oslo to Ålesund on 17th March 2019 was cancelled. The flight should originally have been operated by an aircraft of the type Boeing 737 MAX. After two fatal accidents with this type of aircraft, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) imposed instructions suspending the use of these aircraft in Europe. All the passengers received food/care as required by the EU Regulation 261/2004. The presented text messages show that passengers were sent offers of a rerouting on 13th March at 21.06, via telephone or by Norwegian’s website. The passenger contacted Norwegian, however, at 23.39 on 13th March and at 18.52 on 16th March 2019. He was then offered rerouting for 16th, 17th and 18th March. The passenger rejected these offers and asked for a refund. 2019-02229 18.02.2020 020 Øvre Slottsgate 18 - 20 Telefon: 22 54 60 00 Org.nr. NO - 971093080 0157 Oslo Norwegian has contended that the above-mentioned conditions must be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance which exempts the airlines from their responsibility to pay compensation according to EU Regulation 261/2004, and that the cancellation could not have been avoided in spite of all reasonable measures having been taken. The airline has consequently, on the above grounds, refused the claim from the complainant for standard compensation. Beyond this, the airline believes that the complainant was given adequate offers of rerouting in accordance with EU Regulation, and on those grounds, has rejected the claim for a refund of his tickets. The Air Passenger Complaint Handling Body remarks: Cancellation gives the right to standard compensation unless the airline can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided, in spite of all reasonable measures having been taken, cf. EU Regulation 261/2004, article 5. The handling body acknowledges that EASA published instructions which were put into operation on 12th March 2019, as a security measure after there had been serious aviation accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. On 10th March 2019 an aircraft of this type was involved in an accident with Ethiopian Airways, and the same type of aircraft was involved in another accident on 29th October 2018, in Indonesia. Norwegian implemented a temporary stop to all its flight operations using Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, following the recommendations from the European civil aviation authorities. The handling body is of the opinion that the cancellation was a direct result of these above-mentioned security measures. The flight route programme had to be reorganized using the available aircraft to transport as many passengers as possible, in order to avoid severe delays and cancellations. The handling body believes that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided, in spite of all reasonable measures having been taken to do so. The complainant does not, consequently, have the right to standard compensation in accordance with the EU Regulation. Furthermore, the handling body accepts that Norwegian has substantiated that the complainant was given adequate offers of rerouting, and it refers to the documentation presented by the airline. The handling body cannot, therefore, see that there are grounds to refund the complainant’s tickets with SAS. Decision: The Air Passenger Complaint Handling Body cannot recommend the claim from the complainant. The decision is unanimous: Yes The Air Passenger Complaint Handling Body’s composition: Helen Andenæs Sekulic (Chairman of Complaints Handling Body) Gøran Jenssen (Widerøe) Joachim Sponheim (SAS) Maite de Geus-Cossard (European Consumer Council) Thomas Iversen (The Norwegian Consumer Council) 
  • Any comments anyone l? 
  • Ganga
    Ganga Posts: 4,157 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Any comments anyone l? 
    Only comment is to break up the above into paragraphs,people will not bother reading a wall of text.
    ITS NOT EASY TO GET EVERYTHING WRONG ,I HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO IT!
  • JPears
    JPears Posts: 5,086 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Like the above said.......
    If you're new. read The FAQ and Vauban's Guide

    The alleged Ringleader.........
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